Sunday, April 3, 2011
The Mysterious North Korean Soldier
Earlier in March we had a series of posts on Korean martial arts and fighting systems. In the comment section, "Stazza" sent this link to an interview with a North Korean Special Forces soldier that had defected to South Korea:
"Mr. Im Cheon-Yong (45) was a captain of North Korean Special Forces. He is relatively short -- not quite 170 cm [TK: 5' 7"] -- but had unusually large fists, reminiscent of a cartoon character. The fact that this reporter met an officer of North Korean military's special combat unit became even more real after he explained, "I practiced punching several thousand times a day." His handshake was firm and heavy.
"The training for special combat as told by Mr. Im was harsh as expected, and some parts beyond imagination. The training begins on 5 a.m. The fundamental of the training is to turn the entire body into steely firmness, and the basic part is training the fist.
Mr. Im said, "You would wrap a tree trunk with ropes, and keep punching it. You throw 5000 punches day and night -- do that for a month, the inside of your fist swells up until you can barely curl your fingers." He added, "Then you open a tin can and set it up on a stand. You keep punching the sharp part. When your hand turns into mush with blood and pus, you start punching a pile of salt. Repeat it, and your hands become like a stone." Mr. Im explained, "You punch the salt so that the salt would prevent the hand from rotting away with the blood." According to Mr. Im, with the hand trained like this "you can easily break 20 sheets of cement blocks, and you can kill a person with three punches." His hands would naturally make a fist throughout the interview. This reporter had to respectfully ask that he unclench his fist during the interview."
North Korean Women
"In a martial art called "Gyeok-sul," the special forces train by sparring each other. Mr. Im said, "Kim Il-Sung used to say he wanted a warrior who can defeat a hundred, but honestly that's not possible. But we get trained enough to fight ten men without guns."
In the winter, according to Mr. Im, the special forces are thrown into the sea around 4 km [TK: 2.5 miles] away. Mr. Im said, "The ocean temperature is about negative 30-40 degrees in North Korea in the middle of winter," and said "The salt water feels like blades; the capillaries all over your body burst out, and some people just die there." He added, "It used to be just throwing daggers at the target, shooting guns and punching, but nowadays we receive a lot of training on driving tanks and armored vehicles as well."
"Mr. Im said North Korean regime focused on the special combat brigades, providing them food and continuing the training even during the March of Struggles in the mid- to late 1990s. But he explains that recently, "The food situation is terrible, such that even special combat brigades get no more than porridge."
"Each company of the Storm Corps is assigned to a major city in South Korea as a terrorism target. The target for Mr. Im's company was Chungju, Chungcheongbuk-do. As Mr. Im belonged to the assassination brigade, his mission was to assassinate the mayor of Chungju. The other members of the company had such missions as overtaking the broadcasting stations, gassing major locations and demolishing buildings.
"Mr. Im pointed underground tunnels as a major route for special forces' infiltration, and worried that "It will be a significant problem for South Korea's security." He said, "There are a lot of tunnels especially around Cheolwon, and they are hard to find because the exits are usually deep in the mountains," and said, "It takes about 48 hours to come from North Korea to the South, then you would walk or take a bicycle to the point where you can use the public transportation. Then you would head to the city. There is no good way to stop this, so even as we speak there is a significant number of special forces infiltrated into South Korea."
North Korean women on Segway scooters, this just cracks me up...
North Korea is still a very unpredictable, unstable regime. There's a back-story about General Choi Hong-Hi of Tae Kwon Do courting the North Koreans in the height of the cold war, seeking support for his International TaeKwon-Do Federation.
But that's for another time...
Link to interview at "Ask a Korean"